Wednesday, 6 November 2019

workday session on 5th November

November can be rather unpredictable weather-wise so we were delighted that the forecast was for a dry day with some sunshine.
Friends of Mayow Park(FOMP)  had arranged with Glendale Lewisham (who manage the park) that they would come and do some necessary maintenance work with FOMP volunteers working alongside.
Some Glendale staff worked on planned maintenance work elsewhere around the park making the place look and sound like a hive of activity.
We've been awarded funding for more picnic benches - some at the other side of the park and  some for the picnic area, which is why we were sprucing it up.
Overgrown hedge hides seating
We wanted to tidy up the picnic area, clear away some of the overgrown hedge behind the space, tidy up the picnic benches which we acquired some years ago, clean up the sitting benches beside the overgrown hedge and refurbish the triangular green metal picnic table so it will be available to use for many more years.

Glendale brought equipment to cut back the hedge, water to jet wash the picnic benches, sand paper and paint.
While FOMP volunteers and some Glendale staff worked in the picnic area, others removed an old, battered and untidy noticeboard which had long stopped being useful. It took much effort to dig up the concrete base of that one and we were too busy working capture the effort on camera. They also repaired the other noticeboard facing the children's playground and picnic area.
scraping and sanding old paint and rust
sanded and ready for painting


primed and undercoated
First coat of green paint
Did all this effort make a difference?
The seating is visible

Hedge cleared, picnic bench painted
Paint for the picnic benches
We did one more special thing: Mayow Park, along with quite a few other Lewisham parks, was awarded another Green Flag. Glendale, with Pippa's help,  took down the old flag and put up the new one.


Pippa helps remove old flag 2018/19
Pippa prepares to hoist the new flag 2019/20
And then it was time for a group photo, but some were too busy to join us.
Some of us gathered for a photo opportunity
Thanks go to the Glendale managers and all their maintenance crew for coming along to enable FOMP to work alongside them.



Tree Dressing 30th November

Friends of Mayow Park invite you to our event:
Tree Dressing
A winter celebration
of our orchard
Saturday 30th November
10am – midday

Decorate our trees using items from nature or by writing a message on fabric.
We’ll have some, but please do bring any
fabric or ribbons to hang in the trees.

             Refreshments
             Winter singalong!
             Tree trail for children

MEET AT THE ORCHARD
(near the tennis courts)
  Free event - donations welcome.

For more information or to offer help, email friendsofmayowpark@ymail.com

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Spruce up the picnic area 5 Nov 2019


FOMP workday session on 5th November 2019: by Pippa

Join FOMP volunteers to work alongside Glendale (the company that manages the park) to spruce up the picnic area adjacent to the children's playground, in readiness for the new tables and signage we should be getting soon with the funding we applied for.
Join us from 10 am to 2pm. Stay for an hour or longer. With the help of Glendale we will be hoisting the Green Flag awarded to the park a few months ago. 
😊👍

Sunday, 6 October 2019

WONDERFUL APPLE DAY

APPLE DAY SATURDAY 5TH OCTOBER 2019
By Pippa
Apple Day today in Mayow Park was a great success! Considering the rain last year, this was a vast improvement; a mild grey day and the park looking wonderfully autumnal.
We had 10 varieties sliced up for people to try - 8 apples and 2 sneaky pears! 
Photo by PM


Photo by PM

Although we grow eleven apple and three pear varieties in the orchard, most of the varieties were brought in by the FOMP team, either from their gardens or from the shops.
Unfortunately Community Orchards in public spaces often suffer from people outside the community coming in with large bags to strip the trees of all fruits. This year our supportive park users were watchful, helping to ensure that some fruits remained on the trees, to be harvested at the right time and to be shared at our event.
There was plenty of discussion about the quince variety - mixed opinions on that one for sure!

Under our gazebo we had around 8 volunteers at one point, which is brilliant. In total 13 volunteers helped. Dave was on the teas and coffees which was much appreciated. First Max and Kate, then later George and Tessa made a great slicing team. 
Photo by PM

Plenty of families took part in the apple trail and the story telling (Rich Sylvester - always a great hit).  
Photo by PM

Some wonderful colouring got done too by the smaller children - if only  there was an apple variety as bright as their versions!
Plenty of chat around the tables about apples but also the community in general - sharing connections, ideas and clever plans!
People had fun rating the apples and certainly there were some clear leaders - the Cox's Orange Pippin, Russet and Red Delicious were popular.
Visitors said how good it was to see so many British apple varieties to try - more than you would see in a supermarket - we probably all tend to go for the same ones (or the ones our kids like). It raised the question that, with so many varieties of British apples still being grown, why is it hard to find home-grown on the shelves?
The FOMP team deserve to feel very proud that all our planning and preparing resulted in a well-attended and well-appreciated event and a fun community morning in our treasured Mayow Park! Thanks to the community for your donations too which will come back to you in the form of more events.


photo by AS refreshments table







Photo by AS 
Photo by AS









Photo by AS
And finally, popularity ratings for the apple & pear tasting:

By Pippa


Sunday, 29 September 2019

CLEANUP IN MAYOW PARK

This article was written by Daniella Levene  from CleanUp UK who gave permission for us to post it.
Megan & Paulette
The community event  was organised by Paulette and Megan  at Lewisham Plus  http://plus-services.org/  and supported by Daniella.    

Megan with Lewisham councillors
Most of us litter pick because we are concerned about the environment, but group litter picks have so many benefits aside from the environmental one and you don’t even have to litter pick to take part! You could help sign people in, sort equipment, bake a cake, chat to passers-by, organise, design a poster, make some tea, or just walk around for company because you care and want to be sociable. Last Saturday’s pick in Mayow Park (14th September) was a great example of how meaningful they can be.
The PLUS pickers had their first successful pick in the summer in Folkstone Gardens and were keen for more. As Rob Agrawal, Head of Service at PLUS said, Litter picking is such a rewarding thing to do as everybody is able to participate to some extent and the results are obvious and immediate’.
One participant, Megan, enjoyed it so much and wanted to organise one closer to home. With help from her fabulous support worker Paulette, we met Alona, Chair of the Friends of Mayow Park, who was happy to support but at first wasn’t sure if the park needed a clean. Mayow Park on first appearances is very clean and it is well looked after; it has a park keeper (Ainsley) twice a week, an active Friends’ group, and is clearly loved by its many users.

However, like most well used parks, when you start to really look you will see the gleam of plastic, perhaps a bit of straw wrapper taken by the wind, or a plastic bottle deliberately chucked in a bush (out of sight, out of mind), or the thousands of cigarettes (it is estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarettes butts are littered each year), which most smokers aren’t even aware are harmful.

 After our walkabout to check out Mayow Park and see what we could do a date was set. Megan and Paulette contacted their friends, put up posters and with some support from me and Glendale everything was in place for the day, with fingers crossed for sunny skies. Thankfully the weather delivered, and it was beautiful day!

These young people arrived in the park and wanted to help Daniella 
In all 29 people took part, including three wonderful young pickers, as their guardian Jill stated, They walk through the park on the way to and from school and come every weekend, so it was good to see them having fun while helping the environment and the park they love.”


We were also joined by councillors Susan Wise, John Paschoud and Jacq Paschoud and,from NDTi, Madeline Cooper-Ueki who inspired PLUS to get involved after hearing her talk about social inclusivity, as she surmised about the day, “Communities and friendships are built when we come together to do things that matter in our neighbourhoods. All too often people with learning disabilities are seen as recipients of help from those around them. Megan’s role in making this park cleanup such a success captures how the opposite is the case. Communities benefit most when everyone is included!”
Cllr John Paschoud with young helpers
A total of 10 bags of rubbish was cleared, not the biggest haul but that's not really the point. Every piece collected is one less harming our environment and wildlife AND OF EQUAL IMPORTANCE, those involved are a little bit more connected.
Young helper knows where to find litter

Young helper picks up litter


The PLUS pickers are keen to get involved in more community litter picks. If you'd like to join them or organise one, please get in touch.

LINKS TO WEBSITES OF PARTICIPATING ORGANISATIONS
CleanupUK:   cleanupuk.org.uk  
                       https://www.facebook.com/TheBeautifulBoroughsProject/
               twitter.com/Cleanup_UK
                      instagram.com/cleanup_uk

Lewisham Plus http://plus-services.org/
Rob Agrawal (Head of Service) PLUS (Providence LINC United Services)
6 Belmont Hill, Lewisham, London, SE13 5BD
 
NDTi https://www.ndti.org.uk  

VALUING FRIENDS OF PARKS groups



FRIENDS OF GROUPS: Valuing the work of Friends of Parks 
This blog post first appeared on the Fields in Trust website 7th July 2019 and was written by David Sharman    http://www.fieldsintrust.org/News/valuing-the-work-of-friends

The photo below from Friends of Mayow Park was not in the original blog.
Friends of Mayow Park in SE London litter pick with local children & SNT (Photo SNT)

We all know that time is precious and we all tend to value our own time highly, but when it comes to parks and green spaces it's unfortunately all too easy to overlook the value of other people's time.
Friends of Parks groups, or "Friends", are local volunteers that have historically supported parks and acted as voluntary community custodians over their use; being fundraisers, influencers, conservationists, managers, and event organisers. They have also acted as the 'eyes and ears' of our parks when they come under threat or they're being mis-managed. Friends of groups are then often the glue that keeps many a park at their best, and the actions taken by these volunteers should be valued highly.
One example of a community coming together in efforts to secure the future of their local park is The Friends of Ashby Bath Grounds  in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire who, since 2014, have prevented non-recreational buildings being developed at this park. As part of their campaign they created and raised funds for, activities to improve awareness and accessibility of the Grounds within the community so that the space would be seen as a valued asset. This included the creation of a heritage trail with guided walks, an exhibition, a film and book produced about the Grounds, community mosaic workshops, archaeology sessions, and even the writing of a new ballad about the Grounds. Plans for development here have so far been successfully stymied or withdrawn.
We are aware of Friends of groups first forming in 1960s and '70s, but the prominence of Friends really grew in the '90s and early 2000s as a result of a funding crisis seen within public parks. Local people came to the aid of parks when they were in their worst state for years. Unfortunately, in this last decade, we have seen funding to parks again reduced, and due to continued local authority budget and resource cuts, the role of Friends is again becoming increasingly vital to the sustainable future of our parks. Evidence of this can be seen from the more active role Friends of groups are taking in fundraising for park improvements. It was estimated in 2016  that £50m is raised by park Friends of groups each year, which was more than double the amount estimated in 2014. For example, members of the Friends of Grange Park  London raised £100,000, both through grants and crowdfunding within the community, to create a new play area, accessible to all through the installation of equipment suitable for children with disabilities. Grange Park is now also protected with Fields in Trust.
In some cases, Friends have taken on more responsibility around park maintenance and management, in innovative ways. Over the last 18 years the Friends of Lordship Rec in Haringey, London have taken a derelict park, secured over £5m of grant funding, influenced the Council to ensure it is legally protected in perpetuity with Fields in Trust, and improved the entire space by building a new community and eco-hub and making many grounds improvements. Building on the success of partnership-working, the Friends and the Council are committed to an ongoing co-management of the park as a whole. As part of Nesta's Rethinking Parks project, they are also working with other Friends of groups in London and across the country to empower them to take similar action at their parks.
Things like securing funding for the 'extra' bits in a park such as benches, bins or swings, getting more people using the park through events and physical improvements such as fences or planting are clear measures of impact, but how do we value the full contribution Friends make through their time and effort? It turns out that time volunteered is a tricky thing to quantify. Traditionally, volunteering value has been calculated by looking at the cost of replacing the volunteers with paid workers, this is 'the replacement cost model'. One such calculation,  created by surveying park managers across the country, estimated those precious volunteering hours by park Friends of and user groups to be worth £70m each year. It's worth noting that this 2016 figure is again more than double the £30m estimated in 2014.
This is an impressive figure, but it still doesn't really give the full picture. The problem with the replacement cost model is that it doesn't fully capture the many impacts that Friends of groups have at parks, be it the wellbeing that a visitor might get as a result of exploring a Friends-planted garden, the impact Friends-funded facilities might have on a young sports participant, or the many other such associated benefits the presence of a park, cared for by Friends, can create. The Hidden Diamonds report  tried to value some of these hidden impacts when it came to volunteering in sport. The report estimated that each volunteer within sport had an additional impact on the cumulative wellbeing of sports participants to the value of £16,032 per year. The economists that aided in compiling this research, Jump X Symetrica, also undertook our Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces  research. One of the things our study showed was that the Wellbeing Value associated with the frequent use of local parks and green spaces is worth £34.2 billion per year to the entire UK adult population. It's conceivable then that a portion of the health and wellbeing benefits we gain from using parks is attributable to the work of Friends of groups, in a similar way that the Hidden Diamonds report link sports participants' wellbeing to the volunteers involved.
Beyond the increased wellbeing of park visitors, the act of volunteering has further huge societal benefits  [opens PDF] in terms of increased community cohesion, trust and health. On top of that, it's also been shown that it gives the volunteers themselves massive personal wellbeing benefits   from meeting new people, increased employability and skills and giving a sense of purpose. For example, The Friends of Bristol's parks have joined together to form Bristol Parks Forum  and work with the council to run ParkWork, a project offering experience in horticultural work to help-low skilled people in difficult circumstances to create routes to employment. The Forum has also been key partners in the formation of Bristol & Bath Parks Foundation, a charity that raises funds and supports the volunteer work in the parks across the area.
So taking all of this information on board, it's clear that the value of Friends of groups has many layers, both direct and indirect, and when taken all together they represent a massive community asset. You will have noticed that this blog is peppered with examples of the work of such groups. We've been featuring more of them all this week on our website, such as Friends of Newton Park  in Greater Manchester whose determination and mediation over a two-year period were integral to convincing the council that owned the park to protect it for recreation forever with Fields in Trust as a Centenary Field. The Friends first raised this in 2017, in order to commemorate the heritage of the park, originally gifted to the community by Lt. Colonel Newton, a prominent World War I veteran.
These are just a few of the countless examples of the varied contribution that Friends of groups make and real examples like these remain a key way of demonstrating their value. As I said at the start of this piece, their work only grows in importance as our parks face grave challenges when it comes to funding and maintenance, as well as increased threats to their very existence as more green spaces are disposed of. More varied types of park management models are developing, sometimes with formalised agreements in place empowering volunteer groups to drive forward. Whilst this volunteer resource is a big help and, in some cases, vital, continued local authority leadership is much needed and there needs to be support for communities that want to play a more active role in supporting their local parks and green spaces.
It's also worth noting from the figures above that the value of Friends' volunteer hours have increased over the last few years, as has the funding they have secured for parks. Unfortunately, it's also been shown  that the amount of time people volunteer in general is decreasing across the country. Volunteering is becoming more valuable, and sadly it may be getting rarer. Friends of groups are going to be crucial in developing the innovative new ways in which our green spaces survive and thrive and we could all do well to appreciate their time a little more, and perhaps join their ranks. We have partnered with Groundwork to deliver a project, Future Proof Parks, to encourage the next generation of volunteers to do just that. Let's make sure that we value their efforts.

David Sharman is Fields in Trust Development Manager for London and the East of England. He can be contacted by any of the below means.
t: 020 7427 2123
e: david.sharman@fieldsintrust.org

Friday, 27 September 2019

Autumn in Mayow Park

27th September 2019 and the park is moving into autumn. Today was sometimes sunny and warm and sometimes heavy showers. Our park photographer Ron Packham has been out in Mayow Park to see what is stirring. Here are two of his photos.

Collecting food to store
The squirrels have been very busy during the last couple of weeks. Ron has caught on camera how these animals collect conkers in readiness for winter. They dig holes to bury their horde but often seem to forget where they buried their larder


Dappled light after rain, looking towards the tennis courts
This lovely photo taken by Ron looks like an autumn painting with its dappled shades of green and brown. The view is looking east towards the tennis courts along the path from Recreation Road.